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I’ve been on a bit of a stevia kick lately. I picked up a bottle of SweetLeaf SteviaClear Liquid Stevia a few weeks ago and have been adding it to salad dressings, beverages, smoothies, and anything else I can think of to sweeten.
Stevia is extracted from the leaves of a South American plant and is about 300 times sweeter than sugarcane. That’s right, 300! Saying that a little bit goes a long way is an understatement. Containing no calories or carbohydrates, stevia does not affect blood sugar levels, so it’s an excellent choice for diabetics or those with insulin issues.
On warm summer evenings, a glass of sugar-free, stevia-sweetened lemonade is just the thing to enjoy after a long day. This recipe derives it’s sweetness not only from the stevia, but also from watermelon juice. The great thing about stevia is that you can adjust the sweetness of a recipe with just the squeeze of a dropper. I like a fairly tart lemonade, but if you prefer a sweeter beverage, feel free to add more stevia to taste.
Stevia is available at natural health food stores and online in both liquid and powdered forms. So far I’ve only used the liquid variety. I typically use SweetLeaf for it’s purity and lack of bitter aftertaste, which can be an issue with some brands, or so I’ve heard. Like I said before, a little stevia goes a very long way, so if you use too much, you can get that unpleasant aftertaste, too. And that I know from firsthand experience!
Do you use stevia regularly? Have a favorite brand? Recipe?
Sugar-Free Watermelon Lemonade
Makes about 4 cups (1 quart)
2 ½ cups cold watermelon cubes
3 cups water
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (from 4-5 lemons)
25-30 drops liquid stevia, or to taste
Watermelon or lemon slices, for garnish (optional)
Blend the watermelon cubes in a blender until smooth. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding the watery foam that collects in the strainer.
Stir the water, lemon juice, and stevia into the strained watermelon juice. Taste and adjust stevia, adding more for increased sweetness. Refrigerate the lemonade until thoroughly chilled. Serve in glasses (with ice, if desired) and garnish with the watermelon or lemon slices if using.
Change it up: use sparkling water in place of some or all of the water and you’ll have Sparkling Watermelon Lemonade.
Stop by Slightly Indulgent Tuesday for more healthy recipe ideas.